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Capitalize on the end of the summer slowdown

By Scott Lukaitis

The long days of summer are getting shorter, and kids are back to school in many parts of the country. Autumn is just around the corner, but just because the summer season is over doesn't mean that you should sit back and take it easy. The fall season in many parts of the country offers some of the best riding weather, and you can benefit from the time to look at some key projects to work on in your shop.

Here are 10 tips you can do in the next several weeks to make sure you capitalize on that time:

  1. Adjust your marketing. You have to know what is working and what is not in order to grow your business. Now is a good time to monitor the engagement on your social media channels. Look back at the analytics on your website to see where your traffic came from. Are you seeing a significant amount from a source you didn’t think was working, or how about no traffic from one that you thought was? You still have a couple of months to make those advertising adjustments and better plan for 2018.
  2. Promote new product. Fall is that time of the year when all of the new gear and bikes are hitting the floor. Are you promoting that you have those items? What about adding something new and exciting? Is there a helmet line or gear company that you were considering putting in your store? What about an entirely new category? Now is your chance to bring the product in, train your staff and get it ready to sell. Take the opportunity of the “downtime” to decide what your customers want and then go out and get it.
  3. Redesign your website. Yes, your old site is looking dated. If the budget exists, you could go all in and do a complete redesign using one of the industry providers — make sure it’s mobile-friendly. But if the budget isn’t there, please go page by page through your site and remove any outdated information. Old used bikes, non-existent sales programs, etc. Get them off your valuable page space. Update your photos with new, correctly lit images, follow each link to ensure it’s still correct. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward with this silent salesperson. Sure, it will take time, but a page at a time will yield valuable results. 
  4. Commission a new logo. It might be time to look at something new for your dealership. Is your current logo outdated with colors from the '80s? It might be a chance to freshen up the appearance.
  5. Create a fun new slogan. Similar to a logo, what does your slogan or tagline say about your business? Is it still relevant, or are you just using it because it’s “what we’ve always had?” Are you telling the story of your company?
  6. Meet your customers. As your dealership slows down in the next couple of months, this is the perfect time to offer customer training nights. Not only will your customers be better educated, but your staff will as well. The added benefit of getting to know them at a time of the year when you can spend a chance to talk with them will significantly increase their likelihood of shopping at your dealership.
  7. Attend a conference. The AIMExpo is taking place shortly, and the IMS shows are almost upon us; use both of these opportunities to increase your knowledge of the business. It might also be a good time to see what other conferences are going on in your area outside of the industry.
  8. Participate in a local event. Check with your local chamber of commerce for events and fairs going on in your neighborhood. You’d be surprised how many local people didn’t know you existed until they saw you at the church fair or festival. Take some time to stay local and see what opportunity exists.
  9. Target a new audience. Have you looked at the growth of adventure bikes in the industry or the increase in the female riding demographic? What about ATVs and side-by-sides? For hunters or agriculture use? Give some thought to these forgotten demographics and groups.
  10. Host an open house. Yes, this is the best time of the year for an open house or training seminar.

Know when it’s time to pivot. Take this chance to look at your business. Figure out what isn’t working and punt it. Don’t continue to do something because “it’s how we always do it.” The business world is changing rapidly, and if you don’t, you’ll be left behind.

Scott Lukaitis is a writer, photographer and powersports industry professional with more than 25 years of experience from the dealership to the manufacturer level. He owns and provides content for his websites njmotocross.comlukaitisphoto.com and scottlukaitis.com and is currently the chief operating officer at Engine Ice Hi-Performance Coolant.

He can be reached via email at scott@scottlukaitis.com

 

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